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Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
#2986043 05/31/20 07:30 AM
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Emigre Offline OP
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Hello fellow forumites

Short version, I have a high level of musicianship and a low level of familiarity with piano, though not a complete beginner. I want to get into classical piano. Where to start?

The full story...
Just ordered my digital piano (P515) and i’m super excited to be coming back after many years away. I’m looking for ideas how to restart.

I first started learning classical piano at around 10 years old. 3 years into it, I discovered metal and shortly after I quit the piano to embark on a guitar journey. Which I spent the next 20 odd years having a on/off relationship with, finally getting serious about 10 years ago. The guitar has always seemed an ill fitting instrument for me and I often thought about getting back to piano — but learning to play guitar was something I just needed to do.

So now I’m a grade 7 classical guitar and advanced electric guitar player. (The gods only know how much blood sweat and tears it’s taken to get this far!) I have a pretty good familiarity with music theory, reading, dexterity and musicianship.

Other than my initial 3 years of piano, in the last 5-6 years I got into synthesisers and also did about 6 months of a pop piano course (arrangement on the fly from a leasheet). I had to quit that due to prepping for my grade 6 classical guitar exams.

So where to start? I’m currently continuing both classical and electric guitar lessons via Zoom, but it doesn’t look like the medium has enough detail for a teacher to pick up errors on the fly, so not sure if it would work. And I probably don’t need too much babysitting. That said, that’s the route I’ll take likely.

Any other resources, like video lessons? My main aims are to play classical piano by reading notation.

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Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
Emigre #2986058 05/31/20 08:36 AM
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What is your impression about your 3 years of piano? Have you identified any strong and weak areas? What kinds of skills do you think you are missing, and that you have, in piano? Have you found difficulties, but may not yet know where they are coming from? (In case this helps get the ball rolling)

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
Emigre #2986106 05/31/20 10:27 AM
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I'm not going to bore you with rants about getting a teacher and all that as you have had formal music lessons and seem to have achieved a fairly high standard in guitar so I'm pretty sure you understand the work involved.

There was a recent discussion about remote lessons and most people agree that it's not quite the same thing as in person but it's still much better than no lessons at all - i.e. only apps or books. I would say try to find a teacher anyway and tell them what your goals are.

If you are into classical piano then I suggest having a look at the various syllabi published by reputable institutions:

RCM:
https://files.rcmusic.com/sites/default/files/files/S41_PianoSyllabus_2016_online_f.pdf

ABRSM:
https://us.abrsm.org/media/62972/piano_syllabus_2019___2020_complete.pdf

You don't have to do exams and even if your teacher doesn't follow a specific syllabus it's still useful to know what is expected at various levels in your learning. I have also found the following useful for finding pieces I can play: http://pianosyllabus.com/default.php

Good luck!

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
keystring #2986111 05/31/20 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
What is your impression about your 3 years of piano? Have you identified any strong and weak areas? What kinds of skills do you think you are missing, and that you have, in piano? Have you found difficulties, but may not yet know where they are coming from? (In case this helps get the ball rolling)

Good question. That was too long ago; I’ll have to rebuild my piano almost from scratch. I’m ok with musicianship, rudiments, time but will have to start from putting my hands on the instrument and work out what are my gaps.

I guess this is where a teacher would be useful.

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
Emigre #2986317 05/31/20 06:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
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Originally Posted by Emigre
Originally Posted by keystring
What is your impression about your 3 years of piano? Have you identified any strong and weak areas? What kinds of skills do you think you are missing, and that you have, in piano? Have you found difficulties, but may not yet know where they are coming from? (In case this helps get the ball rolling)

Good question. That was too long ago; I’ll have to rebuild my piano almost from scratch. I’m ok with musicianship, rudiments, time but will have to start from putting my hands on the instrument and work out what are my gaps.

I guess this is where a teacher would be useful.

I came back to piano from 56 years away. I took me about 6 weeks to get back to the level I was when I stopped (ABRSM Grade 3). I found myself a teacher and we have have been continuing together for about 2 /12 years since. i pretty much tell my teacher what I would like to learn and she helps me get there.

My takeaways from the last 2 1/2 years

* Even though I thought I had learnt a piece, I really hadn't - and that was after giving it 3 months dedicated time. Yet leave it alone for a couple of months, and it all disappears
* Coming back a second time helps to embed it for longer. its only been in the last 6 months that I have been able to build an enduring repetoire.
* Practicing well is a skill to learn and makes a massive difference if done well. But its easier to know the theory of practicing well than actually using it in every days practice time.
* I need my teacher to spot mistakes. I am frequently making them but not always spotting them. Trying to play without mistakes in my lessons was making me nervous and hampering me. When I learnt to embrace the opportunity to learn from them my anxiety stopped as did my nervousness.

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
akc42 #2986399 06/01/20 12:24 AM
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Emigre Offline OP
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Originally Posted by akc42
Originally Posted by Emigre
Originally Posted by keystring
What is your impression about your 3 years of piano? Have you identified any strong and weak areas? What kinds of skills do you think you are missing, and that you have, in piano? Have you found difficulties, but may not yet know where they are coming from? (In case this helps get the ball rolling)

Good question. That was too long ago; I’ll have to rebuild my piano almost from scratch. I’m ok with musicianship, rudiments, time but will have to start from putting my hands on the instrument and work out what are my gaps.

I guess this is where a teacher would be useful.

I came back to piano from 56 years away. I took me about 6 weeks to get back to the level I was when I stopped (ABRSM Grade 3). I found myself a teacher and we have have been continuing together for about 2 /12 years since. i pretty much tell my teacher what I would like to learn and she helps me get there.

My takeaways from the last 2 1/2 years

* Even though I thought I had learnt a piece, I really hadn't - and that was after giving it 3 months dedicated time. Yet leave it alone for a couple of months, and it all disappears
* Coming back a second time helps to embed it for longer. its only been in the last 6 months that I have been able to build an enduring repetoire.
* Practicing well is a skill to learn and makes a massive difference if done well. But its easier to know the theory of practicing well than actually using it in every days practice time.
* I need my teacher to spot mistakes. I am frequently making them but not always spotting them. Trying to play without mistakes in my lessons was making me nervous and hampering me. When I learnt to embrace the opportunity to learn from them my anxiety stopped as did my nervousness.

Thanks for the thoughts. Agree, I think a teacher would get me there the quickest. Also -- 6 weeks, wow that's fantastic!

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
Emigre #2986434 06/01/20 03:21 AM
Joined: May 2016
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Originally Posted by Emigre
My main aims are to play classical piano by reading notation.
That's right. Reading notation is probably the most important skill for classical piano, I think you should really focus on that.

Getting a teacher is the best way. Otherwise you can get a method book like Piano Adventures and watch video lessons on pieces that you play from it to make sure that you play them correctly.

I think a YouTube channel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtT_GkgxBCbbLecptrRqSRg
is good.

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
Emigre #2986607 06/01/20 12:12 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
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I had a few lessons at a young age but not long enough to learn anything. 3 decades later I had to start as a beginner. Fortunately I picked up playing violin on the way and can read the Treble Clef so learning the Bass Clef isn't a big deal.

Whether you have a teacher or not, the first thing is to get a method book and get comfortable reading notes. I started with Alfred's Basic Piano Adult Piano Course 1 & 2.

Re: Full circle coming back to piano - where to restart?
Qazsedcft #2986929 06/02/20 07:46 AM
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Emigre Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I'm not going to bore you with rants about getting a teacher and all that as you have had formal music lessons and seem to have achieved a fairly high standard in guitar so I'm pretty sure you understand the work involved.

There was a recent discussion about remote lessons and most people agree that it's not quite the same thing as in person but it's still much better than no lessons at all - i.e. only apps or books. I would say try to find a teacher anyway and tell them what your goals are.

If you are into classical piano then I suggest having a look at the various syllabi published by reputable institutions:

RCM:
https://files.rcmusic.com/sites/default/files/files/S41_PianoSyllabus_2016_online_f.pdf

ABRSM:
https://us.abrsm.org/media/62972/piano_syllabus_2019___2020_complete.pdf

You don't have to do exams and even if your teacher doesn't follow a specific syllabus it's still useful to know what is expected at various levels in your learning. I have also found the following useful for finding pieces I can play: http://pianosyllabus.com/default.php

Good luck!

Thanks, great stuff. I think a teacher will probably work best. Thanks for the links!


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